tv Charlie Rose PBS August 9, 2010 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program. we begin this evening with animals. there is a fascinating "time" magazine cover called "what animals think." new scientistreveal they're smatter than we realize. we'll talk to the reporter who wrote the story. >> there are people who still maintain and through history maintain that animals were simple automitads, that there wasn't consciousness and you could make that case for mollusks and cockroaches, perhaps, but most scientists agree consciousness burns with almost equal brightness among chimps and humans and dolphins and so forth. >> rose: and sylvie kauffman, the editor of "le monde," tells us about a great newspaper in transition. >> the media in france is in a very delicate situation, to sea the least, and that makes us at "le monde" even
more committed i think to defend our independence. this is something -- you know, i'm not talking about some kind of general idealistic principle. i think this is a very daily problem that we are faced with and that we have to take a stand on. >> rose: we conclude this evening with lwarence bender, the producer who made an "an inconvenient truth." his new film about nuclear womans is called "do you understand to zero." >> the reason for making this movie is to inspire people to have this issue raised to the top of the local agenda. it is something that is one of the most depressing things facing us right now in our lifetime, even though it doesn't affect our everyday life, and to sort of help the politicians understand it's what people want and to kind of create the wind behind their backs. >> rose: how animals think, "le monde," and eliminating nuclear weapons when we continue.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: they said the reason animals do not speak as we do is not that they lack the organs but they have no thoughts. however, we're learning this may not necessarily be true. more and more scientific studies reveal just how smart other species can be and the findings raise important questions about how we treat them. this subject is the cover story of "time" magazine this week. its auth, jeffrey kluger, joins me now to talk about these remarkable experiences he had with these animals. i'm pleased to have you back. >> thank you for having me. >> rose: this is how you start this piece, not long ago i spent the morning having coffee with cansy.
he invited me in his customary clipped way. he is a fellow of few word-- 384 by formal count, though he probably knows dozens more, he's a perfectly serviceable voice-- veryically, very expressive and very loud but it's not especially good for forming words which is the way of things when you're the cousin of the chimpanzee. >> that was my new friend. >> rose: rationalable-- first of all, portrait, picture. >> a lovely picture of a crete wur a very expressive face and a face that i believe and the science suggests exhibits a complex and deeply felt intelligence inside. >> rose: why do they believe that? >> well, the behavior of the benobs. look, it's obvious that any of us will project certain qualities on to creatures that we want to see on creatures, but the benobs and the great apes and the
higher animals are exhibiting skills that we never attributed to them before. they're exhibiting language skills. they're exhibiting creativity skills. they're exhibiting tool use skills. they're exhibiting abstraction skills, the ability to distinguish between same and different, to understand that there are-- there's information in my mind that isn't the same as information in your mind. that's a very high-order thing, that sort of segregation of the self and other. and animals that we that you felt as just a collection of very effectively expressed instincts are known to have these complex internal lives. >> rose: what does that say to us in terms of our relationship to them? >> it says a lot about us in terms of our relationship to animals and that's one of the points we try to make in the story. there are people who still maintain and through history have maintained that animals were simple automotad, that there wasn't even consciousness in them and you could frankly make a case for that for things like mull osks and
cockroaches but most scientists now agree consciousness burns with almost equal brightness among chimps and humans and dolphins-- >> rose: the consciousness of a chimp is as bright as the consciousness of a human? >> in the sense that it knows it's here, that it has a life, that it has a sense of past, present, and future, that it wants to live its life with a certain agree of satisfaction and serenity and stimulation. and it's aware of its own presence. now, that fades as you go down the line to other animals, and there is a lot of thought that the way we value their lives should follow a similar sort of cognitive reastat. >> rose: where did you meet cansy? >> at the great ape trust in des moines, iowa, home to sen benobs, including cansy's new son, an
inexpressibley adorable young primate. and cansy-- i will say i stayed on opposite sides of plexiglass because cansy is still a big and sometimes aggressive animal. >> rose: what makes him aggressive? >> well, he made it clear-- remember, i waublgd in. i'm another male primate. >> rose: right. >> he made it clear that-- >> rose: his territory. >> that it was his territory, and there was slamming on the glass to make sure i stood back and then there was eye contact, and we then warmed up. and it was then that he pointed on the coffee icon on his board and pointed to me and swept his arm to indicate to other scientists there, so the four of us had coffee together. >> could you put some soap in the water? good job. thank you. thank you. could you listen again? okay.
cansy. could you pour a little coke in the water? could you pour some coke in the water? thank you. that's enough. you can-- okay. cansy, porthe perrier water in the jelly. thank you. that's good. you see the tv set? could you take the tv outdoors? could you carry the television outdoors, please? thank you. >> rose: unbelievable. >> a relevant detail in there she was wearing the welder's mask not to protect herself from cansy-- he's a very peaceful animal despite the fact he intimidated me-- but in order to eliminate the variable of her involuntary eye contact. if she's saying "put the
soap in the water" and her eyes flick to two objects and cansy is following that it gives him cues and contaminates the experiment. if her eyes are covered all he is responding to is the sound of her voice. there are 384 icons that cansy has been formally taught. cans cansy and the other benobs will carry this with them throughout their day and build sentences and thoughts by touching these. they also have touchscreen computers that they can do the same thing with and the sound comes out. now, what's striking here is that it this is the third and most sophisticated sheet of all the words they have. nouns like "ball" and "banana" or verbs like "run" and "tickle," are easier for a primate to master. and frankly, they're the ones that human babies master first because there's a concrete actor behavior associated with them. but how do you articulate or
how do you grasp the idea of "from" "until" "tomorrow" "be?" all these vaporous words that have no meaning to them. the list is full of them. cansy pointed to a ball and asked me to get it for him and sue told me where to point to the various icons and say, "yes, i will get the ball for you." it took me a while to find it. when i came back she asked him verbally, ""cansy, are you ready to play?" and he touched "past ready." >> rose: "past ready." >> "past ready" which i found wonderfully revealing. >> rose: what do they do with this in terms of communicating with each other? >> that'sñ a very good question. there's a lot of actual verbal communication between them. the sounds that the benobs make are hard wired and they communicate in their own way,
but the purpose of the great ape trust is to do with benobs what we do with human babies, which is you put them in a world in which language is-- is-- in which they're saturated with language. so you know what it's like. you take a newborn, a six-month-old baby for a walk down the street, and you're constantly chattering to them-- "look at the doggy. look at the airplane. wow that truck is loud." you say a lot of things to it. you know the child doesn't understand most of it. but this constant immersion finally comes through the pors almost osmoticly. they're doing the same things with the benobs so their vocallizations do change as they communicate with one another. it's a bridge too far right now to say that they are speaking to one another in english language words, though, i mean, certain sounds do start to sound a little like english words
but that could also be observer bias. we want them to be speak so we hear them speaking. >> rose: what is the significance of sense of self? >> the significance of sense of self is an important feature with a lot of humans, with all humans and with a lot animals. babies, up until the age of three, don't have what's known as the theory of mind. there's a wonderful and, indeed, rather swot experiment in which a baby-sitter will hide a toy in a room and a toddler understands that the toy has been hidden. if i come in the room later the toddler's assumption will be that i know where the toy is hidden, too, because all knowledge must be universal knowledge. now, that's not just a mistake about information sharing. that's a mistake about self and other. i have a brain. you have a brain. i have will. you have will. in order to get that data in one another's heads, we have to communicate. that sense of-- that theory of mind is not in much evidence in a lot of animals.
it's in evidence in dogs, which are the only species, aside from humans, that innately understand what pointing means. if you point, the average animal will look at your hand. they don't get, "don't look at the hand. look at where it's indicating." babies do it-- >> rose: why do we think dogs do it? >> dogs do it almost certainly because of the symbiotic revolution between dogs and humans. dogs had-- when the wolves became part of the human community, they happened to be a species that was just through random development nicely and symbioticly atuned to human behavior and human signals. once they began hanging around human camps, we began reinforcing that trait by rewarding the dogs who were the friendliest. the dogs who were the friendliest got the most food. they bred with other dogs who showed particularly friendly and alert trats. but dogs and humans aren't the only ones who do it.
blue jays are known to have a theory of mind in that they krarks che food, they hide food. and a blue jay that hides food and notices another blue jay is nearby observing twill wait until the blue jay leaves, but only when the other blue jay leaves, and then rehide it. as we say in the story, that's not merely understanding that another creature has something in its mind. that's manipulating what's in that creature's mind. >> rose: what's the order of intelligence for the sequence of animals? >> i mean, as we said when we were talking to some of our-- some of our scientists-- that's even worse than comparing apples and oranges. it's like comparing apples and shoes. it's almost impossible but in a very, very crude way, you can put primates, the great apes and the sarritations, whales and dolphins at the top. >> rose: whales and dolphins at the top.
>> whales and dolphins-- a step down would be the social carnivores-- lions, even hyenas, because the cooperativeness of the hunt requires such a sense of communication and such a sense of planning and planning, remember, include-- implies temporal awareness-- the future. so when hyenas will go out hunting, it takes one maybe two hyenas to bring down a wild beast. it takes seven or eight to bring down a zebra. so hyenas in whatever way they communicate will decide, "guys, we're getting zebras today." six or seven of them will go out and they're on the way to the zebra and two lonely wild beasts are right there and they're basically finger food for the hyenas, they'll walk right by. that's communication, that's coordination. in order to live
collectively like, that you need a higher level of intelligence. herding animal-- buffalo, cows-- also live collectively but they're fungible. any within cow or any one buffalo is the same as another. >> rose: the implication in all of this in terms of how we treat animals... >> the implication, and one of the points we make at the end of the story, even peter singer, who launched the animal liberation movement in 1975. >> rose: what was the name of that book? >> "animal liberation" i think, and he was where the animal rights movement-- i could have these names wrong. he calls animals and humans in many ways equal to the extent you can experience unpleasantness subjectively. you can suffer subjectively. if i can do it and a cow can do it, we're equals in that sense. however, even he acknowledges we're not going to wake up in a vegan world tomorrow. we're not going to stop using animals to develop the
polio vaccine, say. or we're not going to stop experimenting. but we certainly can treat animals well before we turn them from creature to dinner. we certainly can eat less meat. we certainly can try to opt for food that don't have consciousness, so, again, mollusks, you're probably okay eating them. and his point is, look, if meat is the only way you can survive, eat it. if you have an alternative, eat that. so we're informed by the fact that we're dealing with sentient creatures that have internal lives and we have to behave accordingly. >> rose: so what's your favorite story of all these animals that you saw? >> oh, boy. i like a lot nyota, one of the other language-capable apes, who remembered when he was a baby. he liked getting kissed when he was a baby, and he liked eating candy. and so one of the terms he
built learning how to ask for things on his chart was, "eat candy, feel kisses." he was able to request it. there was one of the other benobs there befriended a snake, a wild snake, that would crawl into their enclosure and the benobs actually liked it, but they knew the snakes won't come if the humans aren't quiet and still. so they both were looking for a snake and saw humans and said, "think, quiet, snake, come." telling them pipe down. we're going to get a snake here. >> rose: here is the story in "time" magazine "what animals think. new science reveals they're smatter than we realized," by jeffrey kluger. >> thank you very having me. >> rose: we take a look now at an interesting newspaper in a time of transition.
it is it the french newspaper none founded by general de gaulle after paris was freed. since then the center-left daily has played a pivotal role in politics and society. "le monde" is respected for its analysis, opinion pages and intellectual style. it is an icon in france. it is also called "the record." in the last few years, the newspaper suffered growing financial difficulties. in june, it was on the brink of insolvency when an unusual trio of buyers stepped in. president sarkozy openly opposed the bid and now the controversy over the takeover has grown. joining me now from paris is sylvie kauffman, the executive editor of "le monde" and i am pleased to have her on this broadcast. thank you. >> thank you, good evening. >> rose: what remains to be done for this to be a deal? >> right now the future owners are in negotiations with the management of "le monde".
actually, lawyers are talking to their lawyers are talking to our lawyers about new rules of governance, what will be the future of the paper, new financial structures of the company. they're going through all these details, and with a target of closing the deal by late september. >> rose: how will this newspaper change once this deal is done? >> well, the biggest change, of course, is the ownership. up to now, "le monde" was owned by a big number of shareholders, none of which had a strong maturity. 00 and specificity of "le monde" was that it was owned part bee lie the journalists. you said that "le monde" was founded in 1944. but in 1951, the founder of the newspaper to secure its
independence from political power, helped create the society of journalists, which is basically the nurm. and the journalists of "le monde" became shareholders. and today, we own around 20% of the shares. but the most important thing is that we have veto power on the appointment of the publisher, of the director. and then among the other shareholders, there are other staff categories, and there are two-- for instance, two industrial shareholders, if you want, like the le guardier group, a major industrial group in france and owns all the big interests in the media in france. and they hold fan% of the shares. and the spanish media group
pressa, which owns the newspaper el pies own 15% of the shares. so the major change will be the future owners, which is basically a trio of three personalities, will end up owning 70% of the shares. >> rose: do you believe "le monde" will still be the newspaper that it has been? >> well, it depends what you mean. if you ask me do i believe whether "le monde" will still be an independent newspaper, i will answer yes, i believe so. and i think the new owners are committed to it. they have-- we have met them. they have met the newsroom. for two hours, we asked them
many questions because we had to vote for them before we accepted to enter into negotiations with them. there were two candidates, two offers to buy "le monde", and both representatives of those candidates came to meet us. and we had two hours for each of them. so we could ask as many questions as we wanted, and, of course, our-- was one of the main themes we touched with them. and they were firmly committed that they wanted to put the house in order on the business side because it's very much in trouble as you mentioned it earlier. but that the editorial aspect of our business would be ours. and they told us, "you have the ideas. you have the expor tees. you know how to make the
newspaper. you will do it. we don't have a team to bring on, and we are committed to keep "le monde" as an independent newspaper." so we decided we should trust them. >> rose: why do you think they wanted to buy the newspaper? >> that's a very good question, and i think, obviously, they are the best place to answer your question, so i can only repeat what they told us, and guess. i think-- what they told us they wanted to save the newspaper. this newspaper, as many newspapers around the western world, is very much in trouble economically. the business model has failed, and as you sarngd i don't know, we were short of cash even to pay the wages of next month so they got together because they are
not involved together in any other business in this-- in this cob figuration, you know, as free businessmen. they got together. will be they thought it over and they decided "le monde" was a newspaper worth saving. of course, you can suspect a lot of things like, you know, they probably have-- they do have political friendships with some politicians in france. pierre beverager is a well-known philanthropist. he is known to be a friend with-- he helped to finance her campaign. but they said they wouldn't get involved in this, and that they wouldn't get the paper involved in a political campaign.
i think the newsroom-- first, i trust them for not trying this because they are smatter than this. and i think the newsroom, you know, knows how to resist this kind oflb pressure. "le monde," as any of the big newspapers in our country, has had to resist political pressure over and over and over again. so this is something i think we can handle. >> rose: and then there is the president. >> yes, and maybe before we-- maybe before we get to the president, there's something i may add about why did they want to say-- to buy this paper. the third man in the trio, and maybe-- probably the richest one, is a very interesting character. he is an entrepreneur. he has made a lot of money in telecommunication.
he holds this company free,-- the name of the company is fry-- and he is very much interested in the digital world and in the digital media. and i think he's the motivation, for instance, was to-- is to try to set up a successful new business model pi don't know, this magic formula that we are all looking for. and he talked about this at length with us, and we found him pretty convincing on this. now, getting back to our president. the story is that president sarkozy invited the director of "le monde" to his office in the palace, and to have a conversation. and, obviously, the conversation touched about the sale of "le monde", and then, you know, in this private conversation,
president sarkozy made it known in a very clear way that he favored one of the bidders-- not the other one. obviously, the editors were talked to about the conversation and the newsroom and the word leaked-- we're a transparent newspaper, after all-- and when it leaked, of course, you know, it shocked quite a number of people, and it shocked the newsroom. so, you know, i think actually the effect of president sarkozy's intention pushed us into the arms of the bidder he opposes because of a kind of
spontaneous reaction. >> rose: is he afraid the paper will become-- at a time he faceaise political challenge-- the paper will become more left and more oriented towards the socialist party. >> president sarkozy will most likely be running for president again in 2012, and one of the possible challenges he may face is dominic koskan, the head of the international monetary fund. and it could also are martin brey the leader of the socialist party. either way, of course, he doesn't want "le monde" to be a mouthpiece for any of these two candidacy. so, yes, you could argue that the president didn't want "le monde" to be owned by people who are known to be friends of these candidates. but this was-- i think this would be-- this was a very naive view because, you
know, it's very naive to think you can so easily intervene in such a matter as the sale of the biggest newspaper in france. so it was, you know, everybody's analysis today is the president did shoot himself in the foot. now, as i said, you know, life is more complicated and more complex than this. we're not going to become thepiece for any of those candidates and we've never been. >> rose: so you're confident of the independence that will continue. >> i am confident. if only because this sale and the controversy around it has made us very, very conscious of the difficulty of the print press in france. when i say "difficult" i'm not only talk pg the failure
of the business model of the print industry, the newspapers. i'm talking about the political situation of the print press in france. we have another newspaper owned by deso, a defense company. we have le gardier, who owns magazines-- >> rose: television. >> which has a stake-- a small stake in our paper. yes, television. big publishing house. we have the main private tv channel which is owned by a group which makes utilities, i don't know, bridges and all this, which depends on public markets. so the independence of the media in france is in a very
delicate situation, you know, to say the least. and that makes us at "le monde" even more committed, i think, to defend our independence. this is something, you know, it's not-- i'm not talking about some kind of general, idealistic principle. i think this is a very daily problem this we are faced with and that we have to take a stand on. and i think the newsroom on that vote-- because we vote forward this bidder with the majority of 90%, which is really unheard of. >> rose: let me turn now to french politics. the president's poll ratings are way down. what's happening, and what do the french think about their president these days? >> well, it is-- we're in the middle of a big turmoil at the moment. i don't know how much you hear about it in the states. it's quite a complex story
so i won't go into too many details about it, but there is a scandal being played out in the media at the moment about financeing of political campaigns, about donations to the majority party, president sarkozy's party, illegal donations to the majority party. he's been standing firm so far, but as you said, he's-- his polls are really-- his ratings are really going down. the smoking gun hasn't been found yet, so i think he's so far, as of today, he's probably pretty safe. but nobody knows what will come out tomorrow. and this is all the more difficult for him because he is in the middle of a very-- he's trying to push at the moment a very, very important reform for the future of france, which is
life any longer and the pension system is at the heart of it. we have to reform it. the minimum legal age to retire in france is 60. you can request retirement when you're 60, and this is just impossible to keep going on. so this is the problem for sarkozy. he has committed when he was elected, he was committed to make very important, major reforms, like this one, and when just at the moment when he needs political power and a lot of support to push this reform through, he has all these-- he has the big distraction of the scandal going on. so, you know, i think he's just praying now that this is mid-july. people will go on their long french summer holidays, and they probably will forget about it. i'm not sure-- i don't, this will work, actually. >> rose: sylvie kauffman, thank you so much. it's great to talk to you again, and i remember when you were here at the table
and to see you have the position that you do at "le monde." so we will watch carefully not only what happens to "le monde," but also what happens to the pension reform battle, and what happens in europe generally. so thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you, good night. >> rose: many believe that the threat of nuclear weapons ended with the cold war. yet many experts say the current risk is actually greater than ever. along with the original five nuclear powers now include israel, india, pakistan, north korea, and maybe one day iran. there's also the threat of non-state actors acquiring these weapons are the al qaeda network reportedly actively seeking to make one. a new documentary called "countdown to zero" takes a look at the threat of a nuclear event. here is the trailer of the documentary.
>> we estimate there are about 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world. >> they have been focused on acquiring weapons of mass destruction-- in particular, nuclear weapons. >> all the black market seizures that i'm aware of were caught by luck. >> at a russian naval base in the early 1990. >> iran, north korea-- they were prepared to start trading nuclear weapon technology. >> the objective of al qaeda is to "kill four million americans." you're not going to get to kill four million people by hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings. >> we told the russians we were going to launch a rocket but somebody in
moscow forgot to pass word on it. >> the russians actually opened up the command and control launch codes, the buttons, put it on the desk and said, "we're under attack." fortunately, yeltsin wasn't drunk and he didn't believe what the military was telling him. >> highly enriched uranium is now within the grasp of any company. >> it doesn't take a manhattan project to make a bomb. >> we have to make sure never once do terrorists succeed in making a nuclear weapon. >> all the launches on alert could kill over 100 million russians and americans within 30 minutes. >> i state with conviction, america's commitment to seek a world without nuclear weapons. >> would it not be better to do away with them entirely? >> the ultimate number is none. >> none. >> none. >> we would be better off without them. >> no nuclear weapons. >> zero. >> zero nuclear weapons. >> none.
>> the weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. >> rose: joining me now is the film's producer lwarence bender. i'm pleased to have him here at this table. he as distinguished record as a film producer. what is interesting is what caused him to move from films like "pulp fiction" and others to making films like "an inconvenient truth" and now this. what's the answer? welcome. >> thank you so much for having me. it's a pleasure. >> rose: it's mine. thank you. it's a remarkable film and an idea that the show has looked at over the years in terms of whether it's the effort by sam nunn and others to draw down nuclear weapons or weather it's the nature of the start treaty which your timing is impeccable. >> it's amazing. when we first started making the movie three years ago,
then senator obama, many thought he would not win the primary, lets alone president, and here he is today taking such a strong direction on the subject and we're coming out right when all that is happening. it's great. he's done some historic things, as i'm sure you know. in the last eight months, in september, he preside over the treaty council. an american president has never done that and got a unanimous decision to go to zero. >> rose: as he got that decision saying it may not happen in my lifetime, my presidency or my lifetime but... >> he did say that, but we believe it could happen in our lifetime. and there are actually people we interviewed in the movie. we took this part out because it was honestly a little too depressing, but there are a lot of people-- some in the movie and others we didn't get on film-- said it's not a matter of "if" it's a matter of "when" in our lifetime that a nuclear disaster occurs. even people like warren buffett, who are not flaky
liberal types, you know, say in the next 50 years, there's a 99% chance of a nuclear disaster. >> rose: this coming from somebody who is able to build one or buy one or steal one and use it because they have no fear of the consequences. >> that's exactly right. there are many people that feel that-- change the way they look at nuclear weapons today because we're destruction, but we're also post-9/11, so the threat is not as great between russia and the united states attacking each other with a nuclear weapon right now. it almost seems preposterous. it's not, but we need to make sure we're keeping our proper defense set up. but the real threat, of course, is a terrorist, as i said getting their hands on one of these things. and here in new york, a couple of weeks ago, the car could not have been propyne
but a nuclear bomb. >> rose: in times square. >> that's right. >> rose: there are three aspects of this. one is you, b., is how you made the movie, c. is what the movie says, and d. what you hope will be the consequences of people doing this. you're the film producer "good will hunting," and you're showing it at camp david. >> yes,y found myself in camp david with matt damon, ben affleck, robin williams-- >> rose: all the stars. >> and i had never met officially-- i mean, an elected official before, and there i am, we're pulling up to the gates of camp david, and it was just an extraordinary moment. just looking at the marines standing there as we pull up. he doesn't blink. he walks around. walks around the car. looks at us. i don't know, the whole thing was just mind bending. and then we got in and we spent the day, and there was, "nice to meet you,
mr. president. nice to meet you, mrs. clinton. sandy berger-- it was a whole real estate of people. and we ended up spending the day hanging out watching the football game. gus went and played three holes of golf. i bold. i got a strike. i sat at the table where the camp david peace accord were and read this amazing letter from president carter where he stuck his neck out to make that happen. but what was for me the thing that happened that changed my life that day, that changed my life, and there was something missing in my life, and i was starting to make movies and i was starting to make movies that were successful, and before i started making movies, believe it or not, i have a degree in civil engineering, i became a dancer, a ballet dancer, and i became an actor, and i started making movies. there was something missing. and i saw these people
really trying to make a difference in the world. and, i mean, i know that sounds so obvious-- or it sounds like, you know, a politician. some people just think all politicians are only out for themselves and power and what have you. but i didn't feel that. i felt these people really were there to try to do something to help us and i felt that was what was missing in my life and i decided this is the moment that i can find-- fill that whole in me. so i started to look for ways to make a difference in the world, and i was looking for ways to combine those two things, without going through the whole story, it was the apex of that. i saw al gore do his slide show, and like everybody, i was greatly affected by it, and i said to myself, "what can i do to help him get his message out?" and of course i had the nutty idea to make a movie out of it. and we had a great team of people-- obviously the director, david guggenheim, did an amazing job, and we worked with al for a chunk
of time. and we were in the edit room, and we became very close. because when you're in that room that much, you're really fighting to make the best thing, and it was-- it was really an honor and an extremely amazing experience to go through that process with him. >> rose: so after that, you look around and you think about what is there other than the threat to the planet and it's another threat to the planet. >> exactly. well, two main things happened. first of all, the movie comes out, and-- >> rose: wins an oscar. >> wins an oscar, exactly, and that's a dream. that's i dream come true. but as equally important-- really more important-- the movie had a big effect. now, the policy hasn't gone as far and hasn't kept up to the-- what happened-- >> rose: policy in terms of legislation. >> legislation and the world coming together and really doing what we need to do. but while all that was going othe movie was coming out and creating a stir, i was getting all these phone calls, "we'd like to do the
'inconvenient truth' of this subject or that subject." and some pretty important subjects came up and i was trying to wrestle with it and these guys from wsi matt brown and bruce blair who created organization global zero called me and said we want to do the "inconvenient truth" of nuclear weapons. wow. i just had-- that lightbulb. pretty much at the exact same time i was with jeff skull, and he financed this movie and we were in oslo and we were with al gore and we were there while he was receiving the nobel peace prize. that was just one of those-- as a filmmaker you dream of the academy award. you don't dream of being with somebody like al gorl when he's receiving the nobel peace prize. it's within of those truly amazing moments. so jeff and i were taking a walk through this strange garden in oslow, very cold day. we're not dressed properly
so we're cold and we got into this very deep conversation about what kessel affect life on a planetary base, and of course it's a nuclear threat. so the three of us, combined to say, okay, this is the movie we're going to make next. that was three years ago. >> rose: what's the plan of attack? >> boy, that's a tough question. it's maddening. because the issue is so big. >> rose: right. >> you start reading books and one book is honestly more difficult to get through than the next. not because the writers are not good writers. it's because the material is so thick and sense dens you have to read the same page over and over. there are so many areas to conscience trait on. there are so many people who have been talking about this for a long time, and there have been a lot of changes through the decades. so we started looking at different ideas. we start tuk different directors. we met lucy walker, who was well educated-- is a well-educated person and made some really wonderful
movies. and i felt like-- we felt like we needed a director who could go toe to toe with people who were talking about something as intense as this. but, you know, what happens is you make these movies in the edit room, honestly. you have idea and they all kind of change-- nnjts this case you're using real footage, news footage and historic footage. >> exactly. we had several ideas. it was really important to get as many as possible on camera who really had the final say when that button was going to be pushed, it came down to them. so whether it was tony blair or carter or gorbechov or de klerk we have in the movie. there were others. i tried to get nazirbeyev who agreed to from kazakhstan and we ran out of money. i couldn't afford to go over there. but, you know, how interesting it is.
what no one can understand when it comes down to that decision that you're going to potentially blow up the world, so what does that feel like? so that was important to have all those people and to start exploring all over the world where the problem spots are in the former soviet union states so lucy went to georgia, and through a lot of interesting discussions and drinking ended up having an amazing conversation-- >> rose: in prison in georgia say former russian official who was trying to sell-- >> there was actually-- he's a car thief. >> rose: he wasn't a russian official? he was just a russian? >> yeah. and he-- this crazy conversation you end up having with him because he was like a car mechanic and they started talking about cars and really all he wanted to do was buy a ned lamont bor geney and he was stealing uranium a little bit at a time so no one
noticed and he went to sell it. there are different stories. one particular guy went to sell it it-- he went with a bunch of guys who were stealing i think bar batteries and the only reason he got caught is he was with a bunch of guys stealing car batteries and the cops arrested him, too. there were only four grahams but they're worried he has four kilograms hidden. >> the fellow who came up in the book is a.k. kahn. tell us who he is. >> there are a lot of bad guys in the world but this guy actually, through a whole network of people from all around the world, was able to take the documents that they have for nuclear weapons and start selling it to different people. so they made a deal with north korea. they gave north korea the plans for nuclear weapons. north korea gave pakistan the ballistic system they have now.
so north korea got it. that same-- those same documents ended up in syria that was recently bombed but came through north korea. the same material got into iran. so all the outliar states have got their programs from this guy k.q. kahn. >> rose: sort of the father of the nuclear program in pakistan. >> there were statues to this man. he was on house creativity because the c.i.a. caught him red handed with lickia, i believe it was-- >> rose: and the pakistanis would never let the americans interrogate him. >> that's right. so when we were going into iraq, this guy kahn literally had a bazaar of nuclear weapons, it was like a wal-mart bazaar of nuclear weapons. and he a pamphlet-- and we have the pamphlet in the movie. and he had a video--
corporate industrial video-- stuff to buy for nuclear weapons. this guy was selling this stuff right under everyone's noses. >> rose: you want people to come out of this movie with what motivation? >> having produced "an inconvenient truth" i saw firsthand how a movie was able to educate and inspire movement. i'm a member of a group, the only way to eliminate nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation, and actually the accidental launch of nuclear weapons is to lock up all this material, right, and secure it, and to eliminate all nuclear weapons, global zero. at the end of the day, as long as this stuff exists, someone will be able to get their hands on it. the idea that we have it and you can't have it-- which is what we have now-- it's not going to work any more. i mean, we've had this for many decades-- >> rose: well, yeah, but
you're get something movement-- the start of some movement on that and you have people who are not necessarily-- who have a strong reputation within defense circles, whether it's kissinger, sam nunn, and george schultz-- >> let's not forget the great liberal, ronald reagan. >> rose: and ronald reagan who said it-- >> this is ronald reagan's dream. >> rose: which he said at reykevich. >> the dream and the reason for making this movie is to inspire people to have this issue raised to the top of the political agenda. it is something that is one of the most depressing things facing us right now in our lifetime, even though it doesn't affect our everyday life in terms of jobs. and to sort of help the politicians understand this is what people want and to kind of create the wind behind their backs. the start treat set beginning, but there's more to go-- >> rose: are you more hopeful today because of the start, because of what president obama has done,
the nunn order, what that group has done? >> the nunn group has been fantastic. as you know, they almost initiated this in 2007 with the op-ed article-- >> rose: right in the wall street journal. >> and the follow-up in 2008. these are not lefty pansies, these guys, and there are many others. and george shuttle supports the start treaty and secretary-- >> rose: perry. >> perry and others, they support this. so as i said, the great liberal, ronald reagan, it was his dream, and many other conservatives that we show in the movie, have supported it. and it goes back to, i believe, post-9/11. people have changed the way they think about nuclear weapons because we live in a very different world. we don't live in the state actor world where primarily it's russia against the united states, china against-- you know. it's a very different world and it's scary. >> rose: thank you for coming. lwarence bender, the film is called "countdown to zero."